The Caddo Conference Comes to Magnolia

The 49th Caddo Conference will be held in the new Reynolds Center on the SAU campus here in Magnolia this March (incidentally, March is Arkansas Archeology Month). The Caddo Conference, however, is not just another archeological conference…it has a unique history and form that makes it stand out amongst the hundreds of other archeological conferences held in North America (and, believe me, sometimes I feel like attend them all).

First the history–The Caddo conference is OLD SCHOOL. Like the granddaddy of them all–the Pecos Conference–sometimes the origins of the Caddo Conference seem like they stretch into the dim reaches of prehistory itself….but, of course, they don’t.

The first Caddo Conference was organized in 1942 by Louisiana pediatric doctor and legendary archaeologist, Dr. Clarence H. Webb–for comparison A. V. Kidder convened the first Pecos Conference in 1927 and the first Southeastern Archeological Conference (SEAC) was held in 1938 (In Michigan, of course!). Following some discontinuity during Word War II, Dr. Webb revived the conference and it has been running ever since…The 50th Caddo Conference will be held next year…expect much hoopla.

1950 Caddo Conference participants comparing and discussing pottery types. From left to right, Alex Krieger, Clarence Webb (conference host), John Cotter, Walter Hagg, and Lynn Howard. Photograph by Robert L. Stephenson, TARL archives, Louisiana G-1.

Second, the form–The Caddo Conference is pretty unique in that it is regularly attended by professional archeologists, avocational archeologists and members of the Caddo Nation…these folks don’t just attend either…they all participate…Caddo members and avocational archeologists also give papers on their perspectives about Caddoan history, culture and archeology and Caddo Culture Clubs are usually invited hold a dance on one of the conference evenings.

Descendant communities, interested members of the public and professionals all in the same room discussing stuff….sounds like a great idea to me.

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Categories: academia, news, post, talks

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